4 Years and 1 Day Rule

A client from our Atlanta law firm came to us concerned that her application for citizenship would be denied because of her absence from the United States for more than one year. She is a permanent resident and was continuously in the US for 4 years prior to leaving for her one year trip, and then again established residency and continuity in the US after her trip.

To become a naturalized citizen, an applicant must be continuously present in the US for 5 years before they can apply for the N-400. The absence of more than one (1) year disrupts the continuity of the applicant’s residence and the start date will begin again on the day the applicant returns to the US to resume permanent residence.

In this situation, the 4 Years and 1 Day Rule can be applied under 8C.F.O.R. Section 316.5(c)(1)(ii), where an immigration applicant may file an application for naturalization four years and one day following the date of the applicant’s return to the United States to resume permanent residence.

8 C.F.O.R. § 316.5(c)(1)(ii) reads, in relevant part:  “[A]bsences from the United States for a continuous period of one (1) year or more during the period for which continuous residence is required under §316.2 (a)(3) and (a)(5) shall disrupt the continuity of the applicant’s residence. An applicant described in this paragraph who must satisfy a five-year statutory residence period may file an application for naturalization four years and one day following the date of the applicant’s return to the United States to resume permanent residence.”

As you can see, it is therefore very important that immigrants who wish to become naturalized carefully keep track of their permanent residency dates in the U.S. and carefully consider any travel out of the U.S. if they have not met the residency requirements.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.